Visions as a powerful tool for sustainability

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Visions can become surfaces for people to project their needs and wishes, to stimulate creativity and dialogue about desired futures on that people can consent for example based on agreed sustainability principles.

Visions are not the same as foresight that build on present-day knowledge and constraints and model future trends under different uncertainties. Visions are scenarios that could be a step in moving behind land use dilemmas, an example of this in Perez-Soba et al. 2018.

Imaging a distant future is a big mental step from our current experience. A key notion is therefore in Perez-Soba et al. (2018) that such a visioning exercise with stakeholders and the public needs to anchor imagination in a combination of normative and explorative scenarios to enrich these with their own experiences and imagination.

Researchers mentioned the role of mutual trust and flexibility to move behind stakeholders role and occupation (Schneider and Rist, 2014). Perez-Soba et al. (2018) used The Chatham House Rule (https://www. chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule) as a way to encourage openness and the sharing of information.

Visioning could be a way to make research and decision-making more responsive, however, it can come with caveats as the implementation need more time than the social licence of the consent exercise has granted.

References: Pérez-Soba, M., Paterson, J., Metzger, M.J. et al. Reg Environ Change (2018) 18: 775. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-018-1297-7

Schneider, F. & Rist, S. Sustain Sci (2014) 9: 463. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-013-0232-6

The Science and Policy Blog will comment on current approaches for participatory dialogue and deliberation in a loosely series over the next months. This contribution was done by Melanie Paschke, director education PSC after the Latsis Symposium, 6-7, and 9. June 2018: Scaling-up Forest-Restoration. The next contribution will be on different methods used in visioning.

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